Ethereal Brooklyn shoegaze-psych trio School of Seven Bells started as a side project involving Ben Curtis of the Secret Machines and twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza of On! Air! Library! Their first album, Alpinisms, is now out, and Curtis couldn't sound happier about his band's newfound creative freedom. They swing into the Opera House (735 Queen East) with M83 tonight (Thursday, November 20).
Was SOSB supposed to be a kind of musical palate-cleanse for everyone?
Completely. I don't think we had any thought about being a proper band, and we spent a lot of time avoiding habitual decisions that inform the music.
Where'd your band name come from?
We stole it from this show about a South American pickpocketing academy where the instructor wore this big jacket with bells in the seven pockets. You had to successfully lift each item from the pocket without making the bell ring.
How does the idea of slick, quiet theft relate to the band?
We're excited about making something common and dirty sound really ceremonial, glorifying it in a way. Just the name School of Seven Bells sounds really important, but it's just theft.
Ben talks about leaving his former band, Secret Machines, and forming SoSB:
On how they wrote together while they were busy with other projects:
On their first record: